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Where can I have my baby?

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It is important when choosing your birth location that you do what feels right for you. You can give birth at home, in a unit run by midwives (a midwifery unit or birth centre) or in hospital. Some hospitals have a separate midwifery unit. Although the choice is completely down to you it also depends on your needs and risks and, to some extent, on where you live.

Giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to have your baby. However, for women having their first baby, a home birth slightly increases the risk of a poor outcome for the baby (going from five in 1,000 for a hospital birth to nine in 1,000 - almost 1% - for a home birth). But, for women having their second or subsequent baby, a planned home birth is just as safe as having your baby in hospital or a midwife-led unit.

For women with medical conditions, it is safest to give birth in hospital but if you are healthy then you will be considered ‘low risk’, as it is unlikely any problems should arise with your birth you should be given a choice of birth setting. It is important you are given information by your midwife or GP about what would happen if you need to be transferred to hospital during labour, and how long this would take. If something goes seriously wrong during your labour, which is rare, it could be worse for you or your baby than if you were in hospital with access to specialised care. Rather than NHS care you may choose private midwifery, but whatever you choose and wherever you have your baby should feel right for you as it is your pregnancy & birth.

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